SPRINGFIELD — A consultant working to bring a $1.1 billion fertilizer plant to either Illinois or Iowa is downplaying newly released documents suggesting the company might not launch the project for nearly two more years.
John Kinnamon, an Oklahoma-based consultant for Cronus Chemical LLC, said Monday that a decision on whether to move forward could instead come within the next few months.
"We're making good progress," Kinnamon told the Quad-City Times' Springfield Bureau Monday.
Kinnamon's comments come as a draft contract between Cronus and the Urbana & Champaign Sanitary District indicates the project may not get underway until December 2015.
In a memo, sanitary district Executive Director Rick Manner told board members about the company's lengthy timeline.
"While that date is much later than what has been discussed as an anticipated schedule, please recognize that the contract is necessarily very conservative in attempting to accommodate delays," the memo states.
Illinois and Iowa have been competing for the urea production facility since news of its potential construction emerged nearly a year ago.
The company is eyeing an Illinois site in Tuscola and an Iowa site in Mitchell County.
Hoping to land the 2,000 construction jobs and 200 permanent jobs, Illinois lawmakers approved a series of tax credits for the company last spring.
Iowa officials have been tightlipped about what, if any, incentives they are offering the company to locate near the state's border with Minnesota.
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Tina Hoffman, spokeswoman for the Iowa Economic Development Authority, said Monday there had been no recent action in front of the board regarding the plant.
Cronus spokesman David Lundy said the project is taking a long time to come together because of the many details being worked out by officials with newly formed firm.
The draft contract with the sanitary district is just one example. The company, which is financed by Turkish and Swiss investors, wants to pipe more than 6 million gallons of treated wastewater per day from the Champaign County treatment plant to the Douglas County fertilizer plant.
"In a project of this size, there are thousands of details that make for a successful project," Lundy said in an email. "Before final decisions are made, Cronus is working to ensure this project is positioned for success."
(Times Des Moines Bureau Chief Mike Wiser contributed to this story.)